UK And French Air Chiefs Sign On Defence Cooperation
The Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton and his French Air Force counterpart Chef d’état-major de l’Armée de l’air (CEMAA), Général d’armée aérienne Denis Mercier today renewed the annual agreement to advance military cooperation between their respective air forces. The agreement known as the Directive of Objectives is a direct result of the Security and Defence Cooperation Treaty signed in November 2010 by the governments of the UK and the French Republic. The aim of the Directive, which reflects the goals of the treaty, is to better enable UK and French air forces to operate together, maximising combined capabilities and obtain greater value for money in Defence expenditure.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton who countersigned the Directive of Objectives at the French Air Force Headquarters (Etat major de l’armée de l’air) in Paris, said: “As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and as NATO allies the United Kingdom and France share many common interests and responsibilities; the directive signed today reinforces this relationship and will assist in drawing our respective air forces closer together in mutual cooperation.”
The Directive, which is a result of extensive planning by UK and French air force personnel, highlights wide ranging objectives for the two air forces to combine their efforts on that will enhance the strategic partnership between the UK and France. As a result there will be increased cooperation on military operations, training, capability programmes and greater reciprocal exchange of personnel between air forces. This improved integration will lead not only to a better understanding of the culture and ethos of the air forces but enhance the air power capabilities of two of NATO’s foremost members.
Général d’armée aérienne Denis Mercier commented on the positive relationship between the two air forces: “French and British aviators have been engaged together on operational theatres for almost a century. Today, the re-enforcement of their cooperation opens formidable opportunities to overcome the challenges of tomorrow”.
Recently France has given military support under Operation Serval to Mali at the request of the Malian authorities and the United Nations. The UK has subsequently provided French forces with support. The work carried out under the auspices of the Directive of Objectives enhances the ability of the UK and France to carry out such combined operations now and in the future.
Sir Stephen Dalton added: “From demanding missions in Afghanistan to our rapid response to the Libyan crisis, the RAF continues to provide the nation’s air power wherever it is needed around the World. Today, we are assisting our French Ally with important Counter Terrorist operations in Mali with both our C-17 transport and Sentinel surveillance aircraft, demonstrating the Royal Air Force’s agility, capability and global reach.”
Editor: Ed Marshall
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013